Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

restored again, would not suffer the brother and natural sister of Bishop Ridley, and other his friends, not only not to enjoy that which they had by the said their brother Bishop Ridley, but also currishly, without all order of law or honesty, by extort power wrested from them all the livings they had.

“And yet being not therewith satisfied, he sought all the means he could to work the death of the aforesaid Shipside, saying that he would make twelve godfathers to go upon him; which had been brought to pass indeed, at what time he was prisoner at Oxford, had not God otherwise wrought his deliverance by means of Doctor Heath, bishop then of Worcester. Teste Georgio Shipsidio.

Whereby all good indifferent readers notoriously have to understand, what great diversity was in the disposition of these two natures. Whereof as the one excelled in mercy and pity, so the other again as much or more excelled in churlish ingratitude and despiteful disdain. But of this matter enough.

“ Now concerning God's vocation, how Doctor Ridley was first called to the savouring and favouring of Christ and his gospel, partly by his disputation before, and other his treatises, it may appear, that the first occasion of his conversion was by reading of Bertram's book of the Sacrament, Bishop Ridwhom also the conference with Bishop Cranmer and with verted by

Bertram's Peter Martyr did not a little confirm in that behalf. Who Books. now by the grace of God, being throughly won and brought to the true way, as he was before blind and zealous in his old ignorance, so was he as constant and faithful in the right knowledge which the Lord had opened unto him, (as well appeared by his preachings and doings during all the time of king Edward,) and so long did much good, while authority of extern power might defend and hold up the peace of the church and proceedings of the gospel. But

ley first con

the death of

King Ed.

Bishop Rid- after that it pleased so the heavenly will of the Lord our the first iner God to bereave us of our stay, and to call from us King

Edward that precious Prince, as the whole state of the
Church of England was left desolate and open to the ene-
mies' hand; so this Bishop Ridley, after the coming in of
Queen Mary', eftsoon and with the first was laid hands upon

ward.

1

Ridley while Bishop of London had visited the (then) Princess Mary, and offered to preach before her. This interview seems to have created in Mary's mind a dislike to Ridley. An account of it has been preserved by Fox, in the following words:

About the eighth of September, 1552, Dr Ridley, then bishop of London, lying at his house at Hadham in Herts, went to visit the Lady Mary, then lying at Hunsden two miles off, and was gently entertained of Sir Thomas Wharton and other her officers, till it was almost eleven of the clock, about which time the said Lady Mary came forth into her chamber of presence, and then the said bishop there saluted her Grace, and said that he was come to do this duty to her Grace; then she thanked him for his pains, and for a quarter of an hour talked with him very pleasantly, and said that she knew him in the court when he was chaplain to her father, and could well remember a sermon that he made before King Henry her father at the marriage of my Lady Clinton that now is to Sir Anthony Browne, &c. and so dismissed him to dine with her officers. After the dinner was done, the bishop being called for by the said Lady Mary, resorted again to her Grace, between whom this cominunication was: first the bishop beginneth in manner as followeth. “Madam, I came not only to do my duty to see your Grace, but also to offer myself to preach before you on Sunday next, if it will please you to hear me.”

At this her countenance changed, and after silence for a space, she answered thus: “My Lord, as for this last matter, I pray you make the answer to it yourself.”

Ridley.—“Madam, considering mine office and calling, I am bound to make your Grace this offer to preach before you."

Mary.—Well, I pray you, make the answer, as I have said, to this matter yourself, for you know the answer well enough; but if there be no remedy, but I must make you answer, this shall be your answer, the door of the parish church adjoining shall be open for you, if you come, and ye may preach if you list, but neither I nor any of mine shall hear you."

Ridley.—“Madam, I trust you will not refuse God's word.”

Mary.—“I cannot tell what ye call God's word—that is not God's word now, that was God's word in my father's days."

Ridley.—“God's word is one at all times, but hath been better understood and practised in some ages than in other.”

in Oxford.

and committed to prison, as before hath sufficiently been Bishop kidexpressed: first in the Tower, then after translated from Bishop Rid

ley removed thence with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Master La- to the prison timer to Oxford, was with them inclosed in the common gaol and prison of Bocardo, while at length being dissevered from them, he was committed to custody in the house of one Irish, where he remained till the last day of his death and martyrdom, which was from the year of our Lord, 1554, till the year 1555, and 16th day of October."

Mary.—“You durst not for your ears have rouched that for God's word in my father's days that now you do; and as for your new books, I thank God, I never read any of them, I never did nor ever will do."

And after many bitter words against the form of religion then established, and against the government of the realm, and the laws made in the young years of her brother, which she said she was not bound to obey till her brother came to perfect age, and then she said she would obey them; she asked the bishop whether he were one of of the council ? He answered, “No” “You might well enough,” said she, “as the council goeth now-a-days.” And so she concluded with these words: “My lord, for your gentleness to come and see me I thank you, but for your offering to preach before me I thank you never a whit.”

Then the said bishop was brought by Sir Thomas Wharton to the place where they had dined, and was desired to drink, and after he had drunk, he paused awhile, looking very sadly, and suddenly brake out into these words,—“Surely I have done amiss.” “Why so ?” quoth Sir Thomas Wharton. “For I have drunk," said he, “in that place where God's word offered hath been refused, whereas if I had remembered my duty, I ought to have departed immediately, and to have shaken off the dust of my shoes for a testimony against this house.” These words were by the said bishop spoken with such a vehemency, that some of the hearers afterward confessed their hair to stand upright on their heads. This done, the said bishop departed, and so returned to his house. Testified by a certain reverend personage yet alive, being then the bishop's chaplain.

* Bishop Ridley appears to have had forebodings of the kind of death by which he should depart this world. Humphrey, in his “ Life of Bishop Jewell,” records the following anecdote:

Similiter et Dr Ridlaeus, tametsi indignante in tempestate jactatus, suos jam territos cohortans, Bono,inquit animo estote, et remis incumbite : hæc cymba fert episcopum, quem non mergi sed comburi oportet.P. 258, 9, A.D. 1573.

His character is sufficiently depicted in his works : they indicate a mind of the very highest order, both as to power and acuteness, and where he fairly entered into a subject he left but little for after writers to touch upon. In matters of controversy his immense patristic learning gave him a decided advantage over all his antagonists, and the general idea of his importance to the cause of the Reformation may be estimated from the words of one of his most distinguished adversaries : “ Latimer leaneth to Cranmer, Cranmer leaneth to Ridley, and Ridley leaneth to his own singular wit.”

The quaint lines wherein Quarles gives the character of Ridley may not be unacceptable to the reader:

Read, in the progress of this blessed story,
Rome's cursed cruelty and Ridley's glory:
Rome's siren's song; but Ridley's careless ear
Was deaf: they charm’d, but Ridley would not hear.
Rome sung preferment, but brave Ridley's tongue
Condemned that false preferment which Rome sung.
Rome whispered death; but Ridley, (whose great gain
Was godliness) he waved it with disdain.
Rome threatened durance, but great Ridley's mind
Was too, too strong for threats or chains to bind.
Rome thundered death, but Ridley's dauntless eye
Star'd in death's face, and scorn'd death standing by.
In spite of Rome for England's faith he stood,
And in the flames he sealed it with his blood.

66 Let

Bishop Ridley complied with the apostolic maxim, your moderation be known unto all men.” The share which he took in the arrangement of the Book of Common Prayer, and other ecclesiastical formularies, enables us to judge with some accuracy as to his correct views of church-government. As a bishop, both at Rochester and in the more important see of London, his conduct was beyond all praise ; his judgment and his activity were alike called into exercise, and were but too painfully contrasted with those of his prede

cessor and successor, The account of his martrydom will be found after that of his last examination at Oxford. The lists of his works have been various, that by Bishop Tanner, given in the Bibliotheca Brittanico-Hibernica, is the most complete. It is as follows:

I. Treatise concerning Images not to be set up nor worshipped in churches. Pr. First the words of the comm.Fox, p. 2128.

* A remarkable instance of the beneficial effect of Ridley's counsels is to be seen in the foundation of three institutions in the reign of Edward VI., and which in point of date may be called the first fruits of the Reformation. Both in the council chamber and the pulpit did this eminent prelate resist the sacrilegious spirit of his day; and though the young King was but partially able to resist the tide of corruption, he yet founded, at the suggestion of Ridley, no less than sixteen grammar-schools, and designed, had his life been spared, to erect twelve colleges for the education of youth. Shortly before his death he sent for the bishop, and thanking him for a sermon in which he strongly pressed the duty of providing for the poverty and ignorance of our fellow-men, added; “I took myself to be especially touched by your speech, as well in regard of the abilities God hath given me, as in regard of the example which from me he will require ; for as in the kingdom I am next under God, so must I most nearly approach him in goodness and mercy; for as our miseries stand most in need of aid from him, so are we the greatest debtors—debtors to all that are miserable, and shall be the greatest accountants of our dispensation therein; and therefore, my lord, as you have given me, I thank you, this general exhortation, so direct me (I pray you) by what particular actions I may this way best discharge my duty.” The bishop, who was not prepared for such a request, begged time to consider, and to consult with those who were more conversant with the condition of the poor. Having taken the advice of the Lord Mayor and aldermen of London, he shortly returned to the King, representing that there appeared to be three different classes of poor. Some were poor by impotency of nature, as young fatherless children, old decrepit persons, idiots, cripples, and such like, these required to be educated and maintained; for them accordingly the King gave up the Grey Friars' Church, near Newgate Market, now called Christ's Hospital. Other he observed were poor by faculty, as wounded soldiers, diseased and sick persons who required to be cured and relieved, for their use the King gave St Bartholomew's near Smithfield; the third sort were poor by idleness or unthriftyness, as vagabonds, loiterers, &c. who should be chastised and reduced to good order; for these the King appointed his house at Bridewell, the ancient mansion of many English Kings.

« PoprzedniaDalej »